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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Seminars
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1275  Wednesday, 30 May 2001

From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Saturday, 26 May 2001 12:47:17 +0100
Subject: 12.1218 Re: Seminars
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.1218 Re: Seminars

I see that Sean Lawrence's tactic is now clear: trail your coat and if
anyone steps on it, cry victim!

Not so easy to get out of the hole you've now dug for yourself Sean, but
let's see if we can, in the interests of 'vague socialism', help you out
without too much loss of blood.

First point:  Since this is a list that is dedicated to the discussion
of Shakespeare then let's keep it that way.  When the plays you write as
are interesting as those of Shakespeare then we may discuss your
motivation, ego, beliefs, even your subconscious influences!

Second point: The issue that began this discussion had to do with the
epithet 'civilized' in relation to academic discussion.  When you
decided to throw 'ethics' into the melting pot, then this raised another
potentially interesting question concerning the possibility of an
'ethical' criticism of Shakespeare.

Third point: You didn't stick to that agenda.  You now seem to be intent
on proving to the world and its uncle how well read you are.  On that
score, I need no convincing.  I'm sure that all the sources you cite
have passed before your eyes.  You seem, however, unwilling to formulate
the fruits of your labours as anything remotely resembling a coherent
response. Of course, it is your democratic right to commune with your
own 'subconscious influences', and I would oppose any attempt to deprive
you of it. It becomes a very different matter, however, when you decide
to enter into a public debate. Notice I use the word 'public' here,
since I'm not really interested in your 'private' life, and I firmly
resist the temptation to draw any conclusions concerning your private
life from your writing. Everybody has read Wimsatt & Beardsley, not to
mention Barthes and Foucault.

So: the question STILL remains, what has an 'ethical' criticism to
contribute to the study of Shakespearean texts? That, I submit, is a
question that might be of some interest to subscribers to this list, and
it is of particular relevance considering the way in which 'ethics' is
invoked in certain discussions on the subject of postmodernity. I have
not, so far, however, seen Levinas, Girard, and Isaiah Berlin linked in
quite the way you have done (and, as one other subscriber to the leist
has pointed out, NOT Nietzsche), but like everybody else, I wait to be
enlightened.  If I may prevail upon you to expand your already
encyclopedic grasp of the subject of 'ethics' and in a direction
relevant to Shaksper, then John Joughin's contribution to the Accents on
Shakespeare volume on Shakespeare and Philosophy might provide a
starting point.   And we might proceed from there to a serious
discussion of what has come to be labelled the 'new aesthetics', though
I' sure that as a Canadian North American you will be a lot closer to
this than I am. In fact I know very little about 'the new aesthetics'
and would like to know more.

If all this fails, then I can at least console myself with the fact that
in the hereafter the heavenly host will be on hand to massage your
evidently damaged ego.  I prefer the heat of the kitchen, myself.

Pax vobiscum,
Hic jacet Drakakis

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